Liberating the laptop: an overview of cellular data communications

The laptop computer offers great flexibility however for many years it relied on a fixed network connection, typically via a dial up modem over the PSTN. The evolution of cellular data started to gather significant momentum as GSM digital mobile phone networks were established, therefore offering an effective wireless alternative to fixed network connectivity. This connectivity was realised through the use of PCMCIA data cards, operating first on circuit switched data networks however this quickly evolved to IP networking based on GPRS, the evolution of which is still on-going today with advanced 2G, 3G and now 4G technologies offering high data mobility and reliability connectivity. This talk will review those early days of mobile data and present a display of PCMCIA data cards and their replacement; the USB dongle, the latter leading to what was commonly known as “dongle mania” as mobile data traffic levels grew at a phenomenal rate.

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